UNDER-FIRE Roy Keane suffered double frustration earlier this week after missing out on the signatures of Andy O'Brien and Kevin Kilbane because of Ipswich's lack of financial muscle.
The Corkman was keen to bring his former Ireland team-mates to Portman Road, with the Championship strugglers too reliant on young inexperienced loan players as they bid to turn around a difficult situation.
Alas, O'Brien signed a permanent contract with Leeds -- having initially moved on loan from Bolton -- while Kilbane agreed a loan switch from Hull to League One outfit Huddersfield.
Bolton manager Owen Coyle revealed earlier this week that he had allowed O'Brien to speak to Ipswich, who were vying with Leeds and Cardiff for the 31-year-old. However, the Irish Independent understands that the contract offer from Ipswich was significantly below what the other two were prepared to stump up.
O'Brien plumped for a lucrative deal with Leeds, who also scored high on the geographical stakes, yet he was attracted by the prospect of working with Keane. But Ipswich were outgunned when the other clubs tabled their offers.
Meanwhile, Keane was looking to make a renewed attempt to land Kilbane, a player he has tried to bring to East Anglia in the past.
Yet he was unable to react when Huddersfield made an approach for the versatile Hull veteran. Keane has met club officials with respect to January funds, but not quickly enough to land Kilbane.
Ipswich's finances are a cause for concern, and Keane has indicated on a couple of occasions during this season that those difficulties have hindered his attempts to recruit newcomers.
Nevertheless, it has been suggested locally that Ipswich owner Marcus Evans believes he has given his boss adequate funds to deliver.
Keane has also cited location as an obstacle to securing his targets, an inconvenience that contributed to losing the race for another Ireland old boy -- Lee Carsley -- last summer. Instead, the midfielder opted for a move down the road from Birmingham to Coventry.
Elsewhere, Reading striker Shane Long has rejected rumours that he's lined up for a January move to West Ham. The Ireland star has been linked with the Hammers as Avram Grant looks to bolster his team in the battle to avoid relegation.
However, Long, who has scored six goals in his last five games, has no intention of leaving Reading.
"There's always rumours going around and there were a lot in the summer as well," Long said.
"I'm enjoying my football here at Reading at the moment and I know this team is destined for big things and I want to be a part of that. I just have to concentrate on my own game and what will be will be."